UnNews:Exclusive -- Is "Space Chimps" too dark for kids?

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22 July 2008


Spacechimps
Misleading movie poster for Space Chimps.

LOS ANGELES, California -- Fran Moldger may be one of the few people who managed to get tickets to Space Chimps on Friday -- and regretted it.

Moldger, 44, of Gotham, thought that she was taking her family to an animated space monkey film in the vein of Wall-E -- a delightful Disney Pixar movie about a lovable robot -- that, like Chimps, is rated G.

Instead she found herself squirming during several scenes.

"This is not a regular space monkey movie," says Moldger, who took her husband and two children, ages 11 and 14. "It's a piece of shit movie, and it should have been rated R."

Dr. Zaius
actual scene from Space Chimps.

While most moviegoers were prepared for director Kirk De Micco's bleak storytelling -- and the chilling performance by the late Maurice Evans as the psychotic Dr. Zauis -- some parents were taken aback by several scenes, including a naked man being enslaved by the apes and the shocking surprise ending.

"This is definitely a futuristic sci-fi thriller for adults," says Wotzit Tuyah of BoxOfficeGuru.com. "That's part of what makes it so powerful. That and the performances of the late Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall. But it could also limit the kind of repeat business it can do."

According to Twentieth Century Fox, 91% of the audience was 25 or older, but the studio had no numbers on children attending. "It's a PG-13 film, or at least it's supposed to be, and parents should heed that," says Rupert Murdoch.

But some say the latitude in ratings makes it tough to gauge what's kid-friendly. The MPAA's reasons for Chimp's G rating: "Thematic material including intense sequences of sci-fi violence, frightening images, mild language, scenes of torture and slavery."

There has to be a way to tell parents that someone is going to get captured by apes, and then yell

Cquote1 Get your stinkin' paws off me, you damned dirty ape! Cquote2
, says Jay Chin of Sacramento, who brought his 12-year-old son. "I'm not sure I would have brought him."

But others say parents are the problem, not ratings. "You have to do your homework," says Larry Hogmann, 38, of Dallas, who saw the movie with his wife but left their 10-year-old with a sitter. "Did anyone not know this was a violent movie about a futuristic Earth where apes are the dominant species and humans are their slaves? Don't see this dark, terrifying movie. Go see the fun and campy The Dark Knight with Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger. It's fun for all ages."

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